Someone handle the Ray B. West’s bug problem


I’m all for springtime.

I honestly love the rain, the unpredictable overcast-no-wait-now-it’s-pretty weather, and the semi-hopeful look on my classmates’ faces as we collectively sense the sunny end to the semester drawing ever nearer.

But I’m not down for the bugs.

I spend a lot of time in the Ray B. West building. For those of you who aren’t aware, that means contending daily with the harmless yet disgusting pestilence English majors have generally agreed to term “box elder bugs.” Are they actually box elder bugs? Who knows — and who really cares? Sorry if the proper categorization of bugs is important to you, but I’m in the english department, I don’t concern myself with the proper words for things.

The name of this plague isn’t really the issue here. It’s the fact that during any given afternoon lecture, you’ve got to be on high alert for anything that maybe even a little bit feels like a bug touching you, lest one catch you by surprise later after you’ve sat down to eat lunch, or transported it back into your car.

I’m pretty proud to be a Utah State Aggie, but there’s no way this makes for a great learning environment, right? Good luck taking that quiz on Poe and early romanticism while every minor itch makes you wonder if one found its way inside your pant leg. Occasional yelps throughout the classroom indicate students’ latest surprise encounter with what are essentially cockroaches minus the speed or decency to hide inside your kitchen cupboards.

And you know what else? They fly. Your professor is racing through Emerson’s transcendental beliefs and all you’re thinking is if that thing lands on you, all your classmates will witness a grown adult crying in public. They lazily drift through the room and land on the back wall before taking off again, a pattern that commands your invested attention until you snap back into the lecture minutes later without any clue as to what Queequeg’s coffin means or what chapter of Moby Dick you’re even in.

You might even start feeling bad for not appreciating the grandeur and renewal of nature signaled by this lovely spring season, because in your heart of hearts you’ve got designs to smash that sucker with your 2,000-page anthology of American literature the second it lands on your desk.

And don’t tell me these things are a necessary evil. Have you been in the business building? You think marketing majors have to deal with this constant distraction? That place boasts more over-sanitized glass and stainless steel than a TV show hospital. It’s antiseptic. It makes you feel like the police from Gattaca will discover your thumbprint on some door handle and determine you’re too filthy to be eating at the salad bar.

But step into your professor’s office over in Family Life and suddenly, Jumanji. Bugs everywhere. Teachers seem to not even notice them anymore. I feel bad for them sitting up there, grading essays and exams while bugs are allowed to come and go at will by virtue of a) not being cockroaches and b) not being venomous.

Look, I’m ready to enjoy spring time. And if I’m outdoors and bugs fly in my face, so be it — that’s just nature. But if it only takes like a day for our grounds crew to murder Old Main Hill by accident, maybe eradicating the pest problem shouldn’t be so hard.


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